I think Home/Away is very real. From 2013:
“Since 2008, 100 different MLS squads have taken the field and 96 of them have played better at home than on the road (measured by goal differential). The average home team over the past five and a half years has a positive goal differential of +0.47 goals a game.” Home Field Advantage In MLS
Next from 2014: measuring more than 1700 MLS games excluding draws, the Home team won 67% of the time. None of the other major US team sports reached 60%.
Between 2011-2015, only 7 teams have had a winning Away record.
Between 2011-2015, only 5 teams have had a better Away record than Home.
Note: 2011 is when the league went to a 34 game schedule.
I don’t disagree with the importance of quality of opponent. But Home and Away is real, and easier to measure, especially early in the season. Who knew Colorado and Philadelphia would be any good? If we succced by continuing our pattern this team will be a true anomaly.
Some Notes On Home and Away Records
We are 1-1-4 at Home and 3-2-0 Away for 1.17 and 1.80 PPG respectively. This is not normal.
As noted in a prior post, getting 6 road wins (since MLS went to a 34 game schedule in 2011) has always put a team in the top 4 road record in the league. We need to get only 3 road wins in our last 12 road games to get that. That’s great. The rest of this post is potentially worrisome, but not catastrophic. We have both a winning Away record and a better Away record than at Home.
Since 2011, only 7 teams have had a winning Away record.
The average total points for teams with a winning Away record is 61.
Six of the seven made the playoffs. in 2014, Portland had a winning Away record but only 49 points, and came in sixth, which was below the playoff line then. All of the others made the playoffs and 3 won Supporters Shield.
Having a winning Away record is usually a sign of a very strong team.
Since 2011, only 5 teams have had a better Away record than Home.
The average total points for teams with a better Away record is 46.
Only two of the five made the playoffs.
Having a better Away record is usually a sign that you screwed things up at Home.
So far, at 1-1-4, we have screwed things up at Home. After Toronto, we have another long 4-game home stand, and need to keep up with our improved results. I do not think we have to have a winning Away record to make the best of this situation. We can do well with a strong Away record and an improved Home record.
“1. It’ll take about 48 points to make the playoffs in the East
2. Each of the last two years only one MLS team has finished with a .500 or better road record. We’ll be charitable & pretend NYCFC (1-2-0 through 3 road games) are that team in 2016, finishing 6-6-5 (23 points). That means they need 25 of a possible 51 home points.
3. Through six home games, NYCFC have taken just 7 of 18 points on offer.
4. Even with a best-case-scenario road performance, NYCFC would have to win six of their final 11 home games to make the playoffs. Currently they’ve won just once in their first six.”
That’s Matt Doyle’s analysis, which on the math is in line with mine above where I said we need 11-12 wins, although more negative than I’m leaning now. Also in the article, Simon Borg says we make it because of Lampard and Nick Rosano signs on to Doyle’s math.
Doyle also says “[P]eople don’t seem to appreciate how disastrous this spring has been for NYCFC.”
Matt Doyle’s math analysis above got me thinking more about our H/A situation. The MLS home advantage is considerable and trouble for us.
Since going to a 34 game schedule in 2011, just 22% of teams have won as many as 6 away games in a season. You can basically assume 4 teams will do it every year. 5 teams did it in 2012. Of the 21 teams to win 6 or more, 12 won exactly 6 and 9 exceeded that.
Unless the playoff line is lower than the expected high 40s, we need 12 or 13 wins overall. We are sitting on 2 wins with 11 home games and 14 away remaining. For us to get 5 wins in the remaining away games would put us in the top 4 road teams in MLS this year, and still means we have to win 5 or 6 of 11 at home to make the playoffs.
I agree with the belief that we are better than our record, but are we that good?
Our best 11 game home stretch ever is 5-3-3 from Game 11 against Chicago on May 15 last year (a draw) to the win against San Jose on September 19 in Game 30.
If we improve on that by one game, to go 6-2-3, that is 21 points from the remaining home games. Adding our current 10 brings us to 31.
To get another 17 and hit 48 we need to go 5-7-2 on the road, which, again, probably puts us in the top 4 road teams in MLS. The math gets much easier if we somehow win 7 or more road games, which happens 9% of the time, and would almost certainly make us one of the top 2 road teams in MLS this year..
Our next 3 games are on the road, and we better start winning.